Bell Ringer• Which of your senses do you use to acknowledge the attractiveness of a person? List and explain how you use each of the senses you listed.
Background• Facial Attractiveness according to our sense of vision has to do with facial symmetry• How much the average face conforms to the average prototype.
Background• Attractiveness is not just dependent on the vision but is often adjusted by other sensory cues – Voices have been shown to influence a person’s perceived attractiveness• Olfactory cues (smell) also play an important role in nonverbal communication – A significant positive correlation found between the rated sexiness of a man’s body odor & his facial attractiveness to females
Background• Woman’s preference for the scent of some males has been shown to change with her menstrual cycle • Smelly Boys…..
AIM• To investigate whether olfactory cues can influence people’s judgments of facial attractiveness
HYPOTHESIS• A pleasant versus unpleasant odor can modulate female participants’ ratings of the perceived attractiveness of briefly presented male faces
Method/Procedure• 16 female volunteers – The University of Oxford – Age 20 to 34, M=24 – Completed a questionnaire ensure that they had a normal sense of smell, no history of olfactory dysfunction, & normal vision • Chose women because previous research has suggested that females may be more sensitive to the effects of olfactory cues than are males
Method/Procedure• Forty male faces for visual stimuli – From a standardized database – Extensively characterized for attractiveness & categorized into high, medium, & low attractiveness – 20 faces from each of the high & low groups• Four odors (2 male & 2 non-male) & clean air – 2 pleasant odors: geranium & male cologne ‘‘Gravity” – 2 unpleasant odors: male body odor & rubber• A custom-built computer-controlled olfactometer was used to deliver the odorants
Method/Procedure• Laboratory experiment – Repeated measures design• IV= Pleasant odors, unpleasant odors, neutral odors• DV=Modulation of female participants’ ratings of the perceived attractiveness of male faces
Bell Ringer• The Human Face• How much of beauty do you think is socially constructed? In other words, how much of beauty is what we are told is beautiful?
Method/Procedure• 3 blocks of 40 random trials (each person completed 120 trials) – Each face was randomly presented 3 times during each session • Once with a pleasant odor • Once with an unpleasant odor • Once with a neutral odor (i.e., clean air)
Method/Procedure• Participant sat staring at a computer with their chins on a chin rest• They were told to look at a fixation mark on the screen• They were to exhale through their nostrils when they heard a quiet tone and inhale when they heard a louder tone and which point an odor was released• They had to indicate if an odor had been released or not using the keyboard• 1 second later one of the faces appeared for ½ second in the center of the screen• As soon as the face disappeared the odor stopped and clean air was delivered.• The screen then turned black
Method/Procedure• Then a 9-point rating scale appeared and the participants were to rate the perceived attractiveness of the face that they had just seen• 1 (least attractive) to 9 (most attractive) – What is this called?• As soon as they made their rating, clean air was delivered and the next trial started
Method/Procedure• At the end each participant was asked to smell the odors individually & to rate each odor on several different dimensions use a pen and paper Labeled Magnitude Scale (LMS) from 0-100. – odor intensity – odor pleasantness – odor familiarity• The order of presentation of the odors and the scales was randomized between participants
Method/Procedure• In order to counterbalance the presentation of each face/odor combination, the entire set of 40 faces was divided into 4 groups of 10 faces each (5 high attractiveness & 5 low attractiveness) with close to the same mean attractiveness. – Each group of faces was then presented with 1 different possible combination of pleasant– unpleasant odors, counterbalanced across participants.
Reflective• Read the following article What Influence Does Smell Have on Attractiveness?
Method/Procedure• So each participant rated 1. 10 faces presented with clean air, the geranium odor, & the body odor during the experiment. 2. 10 faces with clean air, the male perfume, & the rubber odor 3. 10 faces with clean air, geranium odor, & the rubber odor 4. 10 faces clean air, the male perfume, & the body odor. • The same odor was never presented to participants on consecutive trials. • The experiment lasted for approximately 50 min in total.
Results/Findings• The faces were found significantly less attractive when presented together with an unpleasant odor than when presented with either a pleasant odor or with the neutral clean air – Didn’t matter if the odor was body relevant• There was no significant difference between pleasant versus neutral clean air
• Adds to a growing list of studies demonstrating that the presence of olfactory cues can exert a small but significant cross-modal influence on people’s judgments of a variety of non-olfactory stimulus attributes/qualities (Smell matters) – Adds to previous evidence that shows that the presence of fragrance cues can influence people’s evaluation of job applicants – Would be interesting to see what happens under more ecologically valid conditions
Strengths/Weaknesses• Strengths – Controlled – Counterbalanced to control for order effects – Replicable• Weaknesses – Generalization (population/sample) – Demand characteristics – Halo dumping – Validity (ecological, construct)
Evaluation• Construct validity? Yes – A link could be established between the face & the smell because the technique used presented them as a single stimulus & cross-modal (perceptions involving 2 senses) interactions were checked – Presentations of the odors were brief so the influence of the odors on mood didn’t interfere with face preferences – Trials were randomized so the effects could be attributed to the smells, not order effects (practice or fatigue)
Evaluation• Construct validity? No – The unpleasant smells may have distracted the participants’ attention causing them to find the faces less attractive rather than affecting perception of the face – The participants might have been halo dumping
Evaluation• Were the effects due to a halo-dumping? – Can occur whenever the appropriate response alternative for a relevant attribute is unavailable to participants. This can lead participants to ‘dump’ the values for a relevant attribute that is not available in the range of alternative response scales provided • So they describe a smell as sweet when it is really vanilla • In this case they might have been expressing their like or dislike of the odor on the attractiveness scale – Possible as they only had one scale to use, so couldn’t separate their evaluations
Evaluation• Demattè et al say no – the participants in the study had to perform an odor detection task at the beginning of each trial, meaning that odor and visual information were responded to as 2 distinct and individuated – ‘‘Attractiveness’’ is a clear, natural, & easy characteristic to consider when rating human faces, so it is unlikely that the participants had doubts concerning which variable they were supposed to rate in the task